AFG meets a ‘slippery customer’

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The dynamic Automotive Focus Group (AFG) was treated to a most interesting presentation on Tribology at their monthly meeting, which was held at the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya’s D1 lecture theater.

The lecture was given by AFG member Sid Stone from the InS Thai group, a man with 40 years experience in the industry, and began with “God invented the solids, but it’s the Devil who created their surfaces.” (Wolfgang Pauli 1900-1958.)

President of the AFG, James Beeson (left) introduces guest speaker Sid Stone from INS. President of the AFG, James Beeson (left) introduces guest speaker Sid Stone from INS.

Tribology turned out to be the study of lubrication, looking in particular at how to allow solids to slip past each other, such as the piston in a cylinder bore, for example.

Lubrication, as a requirement for human development dates back to 4,000 years ago in Babylon, but the first recorded evidence of lubrication was that on the hinge of a kiln door in 2,500 BC.  The pyramids, 700 years later, also required lubrication to haul the blocks into position.  Olive oil was needed as well as blood, sweat and tears.  The Romans mixed olive oil with animal fats as a lubricant in 23 AD, but it was Leonardo da Vinci who designed bearings and the Tribometer to quantify the coefficient of friction in 1452.

The first oil well predated the motor car and began delivering oil in 1853 in Poland, which later became a strategic target during WW2.

The advances in lubrication were explained, with oil changes in a Model T Ford required every 150 miles.  Things are somewhat different today, with synthetic oils extending the oil change period significantly.

Sid Stone, however, did say that it was still good sound engineering practice to change the oil frequently.  He also scotched the popular thought that the oil filter system in the modern car would remove solids such as molybdenum disulphide.  It does not, and with the very latest nano-technology with particle size less than one tenth of a micron, these pass straight through any filtration system.

Viscosity grades were explained and Sid Stone also pointed out that the wheel is slowly going full circle, with “green” technology and the botanical approach to extraction of lubricants, taking industry back to the Babylonian days.  A lively Q&A session ensued.

President of the AFG, James Beeson, led the acclamation, and oversaw the drawing of the raffle prizes, with Larry Jackson and Brendan Richards the lucky recipients.

The Carlsberg beer and a great range of snacks from the Queen Victoria Inn were sponsored by Shaun Burke (Cromwell) and Kevin Fisher (CEA), and were consumed with much enjoyment and in a good networking environment.

Secretary Maurice Bromley advised the members that next month’s meeting would deal with the problems of finding suitably trained staff and the proposed college of technical training for the auto industry in particular.  Maurice can be contacted at Maurice.Bromley @go-dove.com.